Fish monitoring trial

Posted on February 03, 2017

As part of the environmental monitoring for the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project, a 96 hour trial took place in the fall of 2016. A 96 hour trial is commonly used to scientifically test the tolerance of fish to specific environmental conditions such as salinity. 

In the trial, young Striped bass were recorded for 96 hours in a tank located in a Faculty of Agriculture lab at Dalhousie University in Truro, NS. As expected, the fish adapted easily to the 28 ppt (parts per thousand) salinity in the tank.  For background, 28 ppt means 28 grams of salt per litre of water. Full strength seawater is about 30 ppt around coastal Nova Scotia.

The salinity of the Shubenacadie River estuary at the Alton Gas site varies greatly from freshwater to close to full seawater depending on the tide and the amount of rainfall.

At Alton, 28 ppt is an important number. If the estuary has a natural salinity approaching 28 ppt, brining operations to create the natural gas storage caverns at Alton will be reduced automatically or shut down completely to stay below this value. This is an important safeguard at Alton to ensure the release of brine mirrors the natural salinity in the river.

To learn more about the trial and to watch the fish, visit Fish Monitoring Trial on the Alton website where the complete 96 hours is available for viewing. An introduction segment from the trial is also available.